Kevin Magnussen: "Anything that moves us forward is good."
After the cold temperatures in China last month, the Formula 1 circus returns to its European heartland was greeted by hot weather and sunny skies. The aim for today was to evaluate a series of small aerodynamic upgrades to the MP4-29, designed to counteract the handling problems that affected both cars in Shanghai.
The team were satisfied with the data collected today, and will use it in particular to improve long-run pace for the remainder of the weekend.
Jenson Button (FP1: 1m27.891s, 26 laps, P2 / FP2: 1m27.811s, 29 laps, 8th): “In this afternoon’s warmer temperatures, it was harder for us to get the car working properly. When you’re limited on downforce, the car seems to operate properly within a very narrow temperature range.
“This morning, I think we looked quicker than we actually were. We’re now trying to work on the balance to improve our long-run pace a little more – and I think we can make the car a bit stronger for tomorrow.
“There are a few upgrades on the car for this weekend that seem to have helped the balance, so hopefully they’ll help us compete in the tight midfield group in which we find ourselves.
“A good result here would be for us to get everything out of our package – but it’s still too early to say where that would put us.”
Kevin Magnussen (FP1: 1m28.423s, 27 laps, 7th / FP2: 1m27.788s, 37 laps, 6th): “I like this circuit, and the car feels better here than it did in Shanghai, so hopefully we can have a better weekend.
“I think our upgrades are working – they’re not going to completely change the world, but they’re a small step in the right direction and we need to keep taking those small steps.
“If we get everything right this weekend, I think we can be fighting well in the midfield pack. That’s obviously still not where we want to be, but it would represent a step forward from China.
“So I think we can be slightly encouraged by the improvements we’ve made. Anything that moves us forward is good.”
Eric Boullier - Racing director, McLaren Mercedes: “Today has shown just how relentless is the pace of Formula 1 development.
“We brought a series of upgrades to our car this weekend, and it’s encouraging to see that the package has been a useful step. It seems to have corrected some of the problems that affected us in China last month, but we’re still only taking the first steps on a long journey back to the front.
“As a team, we worked well today, diligently refining the car and collecting data to work through this evening. Apart from the top three teams, the battle for the midfield is incredibly delicately poised – so our aim for this weekend will be to try and emerge on Sunday towards the head of that pack.”